DC vs. Marvel. Here we go again!
(OK, so we promise a Dark Horse vs. Image vs. Boom! vs. IDW vs. Dynamite vs. Tom Cow in the near future, or something akin…)
In this corner, we have the latest Marvel epic event, Infinity, which begins its run of six this week. Facing this intergalactic behemoth in the opposite corner, we have the fourth issue in the Justice League vs. Justice League of America vs. Justice League Dark event, equating to the Trinity War. Who wins out? Who deserves your well earned comic money the most (not only from this past Wednesday but for future Wednesdays cometh)? Who deserves the highest coveted Bible score out of these two powerhouses?
Let’s.. get.. to it.
Lance Paul “The Apostle”: Minister Gabe, after reading both issues, Infinity #1 wins out. Ha, I know what you’re going to say… of course, I’m going to pick the Marvel book. But, do remember, the last time Marvel had an “event” — if you even want to call Age of Ultron that — this was my review. Yup. I play fair. At least, the best this All Marvel Knowing Apostle could. As far as the Jonathan Hickman-steered event is concerned, the ultra-sized debut issue just moves swifter than Trinity has in all 4 of its issues. Hands down, the art is better, and that ending with…yeah!…blew me away! Let’s see.. what did Trinity War #4 have? Lex Luther plays with himself in jail; Superman looks like he just had a bender; and Wonder Woman gets a third eye! Marvel, man.
“Minister” Gabe Carrasco: Luther? Is that a play on Lex Luthor/Lex Luger? “The Total Package” — you’ve got to be kidding me. More importantly, Lance, I can’t believe you read both. Ohhhh… that’s right… Comic Con made a DC fan out of you! Welcome aboard, Lance. Unfortunately, I’ll have to take your word for it on the Infinity event since there’s no room for Marvel in my comic pull. But with Justice League of America #7, I’m happy to announce that Trinity War‘s Part 4 is finally starting to heat up! Doctor Light is dead, the race for Pandora’s “Box” is on, and Superman is to blame!? Even Supes is beating himself up for this death, and it’s really taken it’s toll on the big blue boyscout. As for it being “slow”, you and I must have been reading completely different comics! (Does it read slower digitally than paper? Ha.) If you’ve been keeping up with the event, you’ll see some hugh revelations in this issue, and might I add, Martian Manhunter is way more badass in the New 52 than I remember him before the relaunch.
Lance: What can I say? I’m an overachiever. Agreed on Martian Manhunter, who certainly stole the show with his “tentacle boarding” of the weird tiny mad scientist. But instead of spoiling this shit, let’s break down these comics and get to the nitty gritty. In addition to Jimmy Cheung‘s incredible sketches on Infinity #1, it couldn’t have been quite as “spaced-out” without the colors of Justin Ponsor, the tricked-out lettering of Chris Eliopoulos, and the grab me now cover artwork of Adam Kubert and Laura Martin. This being the first issue of Marvel’s new main event for 2013, The House that Stan Built had a lot to accomplish.
Gabe: Yeah, like convincing people to buy a $5 comic…
Lance: Ha! No question! First issues typically have to set the stage for conflict that’s going to sap our chedder, show a villain that gives us reason to care, have great hero moments for our beloved characters, etc….. Did Infinity accomplish all of this? If you’ve been reading the last 6-months of Avengers comics, than yes. If this is your first foray into the Mighty Marvel’s escapades against Thanos (that guy who appears after the credits in The Avengers), than no. Despite the first issue pulling out all of the punches from all angles, it does pull from a slower pace than usual Marvel events, and at a higher price than most (because of the inclusion of the excellent digital comic, Infinity: Against the Tide). Besides a tiny tussle between some cigar-smoking, card-playing Skrulls, one would almost think this was an Inhuman/SpaceKnights event. Which is probably terrible for newbies, outstanding for Hickman Avengers diehards. The intergalactic illustrations are illuminating, particularly on one page in which Black Bolt plays main tenor on a soon-to-be-forgotten Thanos lackey. While I have a lot more to break down on this comic, if I keep going at this pace, I’ll have the Minister crying into his DC embroidered habit. Just tell me how Superman can play with his binkie faster then a speeding bullet!
Gabe: If this is Marvel’s first issue into this story arc, it’s gonna be a bit slow. But over here in the Land of Justice, we’re on part 4, and I’m beginning to get the feeling that we’ve been lied to. Trinity War promised the JL versus JLA and Dark, whereas, so far, all we’ve been getting a bunch of confused superheroes, and what looks like a huge version of the old Brave and the Bold team-ups. Sure, it’s cool to see different heroes of The League working together, mixing up the roster a bit; but that’s pretty much the exact OPPOSITE of what we were promised. The only time they’ve really fought was Part 2 where the whole Superman/Doctor Light issue happened, and spun this out of control. Hopefully, the last two issues have a little more fighting amongst heroes. As far as the DC Comics team itself, we have DC’s Finest in Geoff Johns and Animal Man scribe Jeff Lemire, and Johns’ Blackest Night partner, Doug Mahnke. I’ve always thought Mahnke was really heavy-handed on his line stokes, and puts waaaay too much detail and emphasis on eyes and teeth. This trend continues into these issues too, but I suppose we can write that off as his specific style. Altogether, he’s a great artist, and he handles such a huge cast on these panels pretty well, but those eyes, man… everyone seems to be giving everything the most intense stare ever.
Lance: I agree with you Friar Gabe. Mahnke is one of those artists that I’m extremely happy has an exclusive contract with DC. I have never been a lover of his particular art style, with his tendency to over-draw. Since we are still on the subject of art style, you’re really missing something not picking up Infinity. While the initial self-contained story is good, the story after the credits with Silver Surfer is what really made this comic a slam dunk. Against the Tide is written by Jason Latour and panel/storyboard art by Agustin Alessio. If you’re not too young to remember the wonderfully painted work by Alex Ross on Marvels — and sure, I guess, Kingdom Come, if that’s your type of thing — you may have reminiscent chills with Alessio’s work. The way he conveys the Surf’ landing on one of the Skrull planets gives me Hope for a future Silver Surfer ongoing with the same artist. I miss the days when the Big 2 would hire such rare, exceptional artists that give us a needed break from regular illustration. It’s great what an artist can do with a brush, even if it’s digital.
Gabe: First off, it’s Minister Gabe to you, im-Postle. And yes, everyone knows about Alex Ross. He’s done as many great things for DC as Marvel — yes, like Kingdom Come! DC’s been giving the fans some cool new art directions in stuff like Wonder Woman and Green Arrow, but Mahnke has been right in the front lines of DC’s bigger story arcs. I guess there’s just not enough Jim Lee to go around… haha. Anyway, there isn’t much else to say about JLA #7 (thanks for this assignment, Moody!).
Lance: I suppose I did get a little lucky there…
Gabe: The JL “B-Team” comic did have some great reveals, but the ending cliff-hanger only left us scratching our heads than itching for more. Some of the villains are more obscure names than usual — Dr. Psycho? — and the finest dialogue is between a pair of more obscure heroes, Element Woman and The Atom. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more of those two in the future. I did have a little problem with the opening Luthor scene, as well. The whole “billionaire firing all his staff just because he’s annoyed by them” has been done to death, and honestly, I thought we were above that. So unfortunately, I’m gonna have to give Justice League of America #7 3 (out of 5) Bibles. It’s a good middle comic to push the story along, and it does a great job juggling all the storylines; but the strange ending, and the complete lack of heroes fighting among heroes leaves me with a feeling of “this isn’t what the Minister ordered…” Hopefully we’ll see a little more friction in the last two issues.
Lance: Fine. Fine. Fine. I’ll stop with all the Providence Friar Tuck crap, my fine Minister. Yeah, when I saw that last page of Wonder Woman giving me the third eye…. I was basically “what the hell-ing” too. Plus, who are all these random villains DC brought out for this main event? At least with Marvel’s Infinity, they didn’t dredge the bottom of the collective villain barrel (Also, this Face-Off would have been better had it been Infinity #1 vs. Trinity #1, but, hey, the stars just didn’t align that way). To close this testament, I’ll give Hickman’s debut a well-earned 4 Bibles. With yet another five issues to go, there’ll be plenty of time to earn that classic 5. And unlike most event comics, I cannot wait for this week’s tie-ins.